Hormones are important chemical messengers that have a big effect on your mental, physical, and emotional health. They play a major role in controlling your appetite, weight, and mood, among other things. Normally, your endocrine glands produce the precise amount of each hormone needed for various processes in your body. But if one or more is even slightly imbalanced it can cause widespread, major health problems. The good news is that a nutritious diet and other healthy lifestyle habits may help improve your hormonal health. In this article, we share 4 ways to balance your hormones naturally.
1. Consume Healthy Fats: One of the most important keys to balance your hormones is to eat a variety of foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol. These essential fats are fundamental building blocks for hormone production, and also they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.
2. Cut down on Sugar and Alcohol: The two biggest endocrine disruptors are sugar and wine. Sugar can lead to inflammation and feeds yeast in the gut, which can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other digestive issues. Alcohol disrupts your body’s natural detox abilities, which helps to keep your hormones in check.
3. Get Enough Sleep: A lack of sleep can be one of the worst things contributing to a hormone imbalance. This happens because cortisol, the primary “stress hormone”, is regulated at midnight. Therefore, people who go to bed late never truly get a break from their sympathetic flight/fight stress response. Sleep helps keep stress hormones balanced, builds energy and allows the body to recover properly.
4. Eat Fatty Fish: Fatty fish is by far the best source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests they may also have beneficial effects on hormonal health, including reducing levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. A small study observed the effect of consuming omega-3 fats on men’s performance on a mental stress test.
The study found that after men consumed a diet rich in omega-3 fats for three weeks, they experienced significantly smaller increases in cortisol and epinephrine during the test than when they followed their regular diet.